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Milwaukee Production Manufacturing Index rises to all-time high
November 26, 2014 02:37 PM
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM)-Milwaukee Production Manufacturing Index (PMI) for November has been revised to 70.25, up from the previous estimate of 68.93, indicating continued robust growth for manufacturers in southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
The seasonally adjusted index is calculated by Marquette University's Center for Supply Chain Management.
Any number above 50 is an indicator of increased monthly production among manufacturers in southeastern Wisconsin. The Milwaukee index has been above 50 for 13 of the past 15 months.
The upwardly revised November PMI reported gains in new orders, production, inventories, prices, backlogs of orders, exports and imports.
Michael Antonelli, equity sales trader at Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., stated on Twitter today that he believed November’s revised Milwaukee PMI reading of 70.25 was “the highest ISM Milwaukee reading ever.” Antonelli said records, which go back to 1998, indicated the previous Milwaukee high of 70.00 came in 2007.
The comments from respondents to the November survey included:
“Skilled labor is needed.”
“There has been an increase in the number of new positions.”
“The continuing delays at the West Coast ports for imports from Asia are extending lead times and/or causing increased costs via air-shipments.”
“Congestion may lessen after the Christmas holiday rush of imports for retail sales.”
“The main issue at this time of the year is the holiday season and end of the year.”
“There have also been general price increases.”

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Flights canceled as winter storm strikes East Coast
November 26, 2014 10:59 AM
Airlines have canceled nearly 450 flights so far today as a nasty winter storm of rain and snow are bearing down on the East Coast on the eve of Thanksgiving, traditionally one of the busiest traveling days of the year.
FlightStats.com reported 443 U.S. flights canceled and 1,362 flights delayed this morning, with much of the disruption at airports in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Earlier this week, United Continental Holdings Inc., American Airlines Group Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. all waived their customary fees for flight changes for travel today, allowing passengers to rebook flights ahead of the storm.
Forecasts for snow accumulations on the East Coast range from four inches to a foot.
Because of the advanced forecasts, the storms are having an “isolated” impact at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee , according to airport spokesman Harold Mester.

“There have been storms that have been much worse than this,” Mester added.
Still, passengers traveling to, through or from airports in the Northeast are feeling the effects of the storms, Mester said. All airlines at Mitchell Airport are offering customers a one-time change to their reservation without a fee if they are scheduled to travel via impacted airports. Passengers might also choose to travel on Thanksgiving Day instead, Mester said.

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Roang is new co-chair of Next Generation UPAF
November 26, 2014 09:42 AM
The United Performing Arts Fund in Milwaukee, the largest united fund in the country for the performing arts, has named Isaac Roang, of Quarles & Brady as the new co-chair for Next Generation UPAF.
Next Generation UPAF is an affinity program for UPAF donors age 45 and under.
Roang is a senior associate attorney at Quarles & Brady where he practices in the area of commercial real estate.
“I am passionate about UPAF’s mission because it supports the vitality of the broader arts community, making sure that children growing up in Southeastern Wisconsin have an opportunity to be wowed by world-class performers and be inspired to make art of their own,” Roang said. “Next Generation UPAF plays a key role in this mission, not only by promoting philanthropy in the arts, but also by helping facilitate engagement.”
As Next Gen co-chair, Roang will serve alongside Renee Johnson of We Energies and Annmarie Molina of Northwestern Mutual.

Membership is open to donors age 45 and under who contribute $500 or more each year.

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Hoan Bridge project reaches halfway point
November 26, 2014 09:39 AM
Construction on the Interstate 794 Lake Freeway/Hoan Bridge project is about to reach the halfway point.
Despite a frigid winter, crews were able to stay on schedule and are nearing completion of the eastbound (southbound) leg of the I-794. In early December, the project will officially transition to the second and final stage of construction with an intended completion date of fall 2015.
During Stage 2 of the project, bi-directional traffic will be placed in the eastbound (southbound) lanes of I-794, from a temporary crossover south of Carferry Drive. Traffic will remain in that configuration for the remainder of the project. To maintain as much access as possible during construction, other new configurations will include:
* Closing the Jackson Street / Van Buren exit ramp and transforming it into an entrance ramp to I-794 West (North).
* Opening the Broadway entrance ramp to I-794 East (South).
* Utilizing temporary roadways.
* Continued use of the moveable barrier wall to maintain two lanes of traffic during peak travel times.
As seen during Stage 1, periodic updates will continue to be sent throughout the project to remind motorists of upcoming closures, detour routes and other project related impacts.

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Morning Headlines: Intevation Food Group to expand in Plover
November 26, 2014 09:45 AM
Intevation Food Group will complete a $5.5 million factory expansion early in 2015 that will include an additional production line.
As a result, the company plans to nearly double the current workforce of 148 employees over the next year.

Read more in today’s BizTimes Morning Headlines.


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BizTimes Real Estate Weekly: County plans legal action to advance The Couture
November 26, 2014 11:09 AM
Milwaukee County officials are planning to take legal action to move forward the proposed Couture development, which is planned for the site of the county's Downtown Transit Center, located southwest of Lincoln Memorial Drive and Michigan Street at the lakefront.
In a recent memo to County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, county corporation counsel Paul Bargren is requesting $100,000 in county funds to pay Milwaukee law firm Von Briesen and Roper, s.c., to “carry out the litigation strategy,” to establish development rights for the site.
For more, read the BizTimes Real Estate Weekly.

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Milwaukee Biz Blog: Summit will focus on servant leadership
November 26, 2014 09:48 AM
One of society's biggest challenges in a competitive world is how to be the best that we can be and simultaneously help others be the best they can be.
That is the credo of servant leadership, and it requires an unwavering focus.

Read more in today’s Milwaukee Biz Blog by Richard Pieper, non-executive chairman of PPC Partners Inc.

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Milwaukee Biz Blog: GivingTuesday: Start a new tradition
November 26, 2014 09:51 AM
This week, families will gather together to give thanks - a time to be grateful for all we have, including an appreciation for those who join us around the table for a wonderfully prepared meal.
Then Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday will follow, officially kicking off the holiday shopping frenzy. As we enter into this season of thankfulness, let's add another “to do” to our holiday list - giving back.

Read more in today’s Milwaukee Biz Blog by John Kordsmeier, president of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation.

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NBA commissioner says arena will anchor new downtown development
November 25, 2014 07:40 PM
A group of up-and-coming business leaders from Milwaukee- and Madison-based startups met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens today for a roundtable discussion about the future of the team and the development of a new downtown arena.
The discussion, hosted by the Bucks at The Brown Bottle in their new Schlitz Park offices, included Ian Abston of Newaukee, Crystal Morgan of Social X, Matt Cordio of Startup MKE, Sean Lowe of Urban League of YP’s, Corry Joe Biddle of Fuel Milwaukee, Matt Howard and Eric Martell of EatStreet, Steven Lee Anderson of Snapifeye, Joe Scanlin of Scanalytics, Aleks Ivanovic and Nike Ivanovic of SpotHopper, Jalem Getz of Wantable, Jon Hainstock and Ben Bartlin of Zoomshift, Tim Grove of BoothTag, and Romke De Haahn of Spreenkler.
During a meeting with the press after the discussion, Silver emphasized the “amazing” energy in the room as the group of young entrepreneurs and business leaders talked about how to develop the arena and downtown Milwaukee as a community.
“That same entrepreneurial spirit is what’s going to go into building (the Bucks) a new arena and new complex,” Silver said.
Though Silver did not comment on the specifics of the group’s conversation, he highlighted a mixed-use development as a viable option for the arena’s downtown presence.
“Arenas become in essence anchor tenants for a complex” that includes hotels, restaurant, movie theaters and residential housing, Silver said, underscoring the national trend behind mixed-use developments as settings for arenas.
“This is not just about an arena – it’s about a redevelopment for downtown Milwaukee,” Edens said, adding that there are several sites the owners could have selected that would have made for an easy choice but not necessarily the right choice.
According to Edens, the Bucks owners have been facilitating conversations with architects to create a mixed-use structure and are in the process of selecting one. However, the owners’ immediate focus hits on finding a place to build it, particularly in the next 30 to 60 days.
“It’s not entirely under our control, but we’re very focused on that time frame,” Edens said. “We think that if we get a site nailed down in the next 30 days or so that gives us a chance to design and figure out exactly what we want to build.”
The owners said they have yet to meet with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to discuss financing and the team’s future.
“I don’t think it’s really the right time,” Edens said, adding that the owners are committed to identifying a location before any other steps.
During his day in Milwaukee, Silver also took time to have lunch with a select group of local team investors, including Jon Hammes of Hammes Partners; Jim Kacmarcik of Kapco, Inc.; Craig Karmazin of Good Karma Brands; Giacomo Fallucca of Palermos; Teddy Werner of the Milwaukee Brewers; Valeria Daniels-Carter of V&J Holding Companies; Michael Barber of GE Healthcare; and Virgis Colbert of Miller Brewing Company. Also present at the lunch were Jarad Franzreb of the NBA as well as Bucks owners Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan. New York real estate developer Michael Fascitelli, also recently named to the Bucks ownership group, was also at the luncheon, along with team executives Peter Feigin and Alex Lasry.
Silver will cap his day in Milwaukee by appearing at the Bucks’ Tuesday night game against the Detroit Pistons.

A group of up-and-coming business leaders from Milwaukee- and Madison-based startups met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens today for a roundtable discussion about the future of the team and the development of a new downtown arena.
The discussion, hosted by the Bucks at The Brown Bottle in their new Schlitz Park offices, included Ian Abston of Newaukee, Crystal Morgan of Social X, Matt Cordio of Startup MKE, Sean Lowe of Urban League of YP’s, Corry Joe Biddle of Fuel Milwaukee, Matt Howard and Eric Martell of EatStreet, Steven Lee Anderson of Snapifeye, Joe Scanlin of Scanalytics, Aleks Ivanovic and Nike Ivanovic of SpotHopper, Jalem Getz of Wantable, Jon Hainstock and Ben Bartlin of Zoomshift, Tim Grove of BoothTag, and Romke De Haahn of Spreenkler.
During a meeting with the press after the discussion, Silver emphasized the “amazing” energy in the room as the group of young entrepreneurs and business leaders talked about how to develop the arena and downtown Milwaukee as a community.
“That same entrepreneurial spirit is what’s going to go into building (the Bucks) a new arena and new complex,” Silver said.
Though Silver did not comment on the specifics of the group’s conversation, he highlighted a mixed-use development as a viable option for the arena’s downtown presence.
“Arenas become in essence anchor tenants for a complex” that includes hotels, restaurant, movie theaters and residential housing, Silver said, underscoring the national trend behind mixed-use developments as settings for arenas.
“This is not just about an arena – it’s about a redevelopment for downtown Milwaukee,” Edens said, adding that there are several sites the owners could have selected that would have made for an easy choice but not necessarily the right choice.
According to Edens, the Bucks owners have been facilitating conversations with architects to create a mixed-use structure and are in the process of selecting one. However, the owners’ immediate focus hits on finding a place to build it, particularly in the next 30 to 60 days.
“It’s not entirely under our control, but we’re very focused on that time frame,” Edens said. “We think that if we get a site nailed down in the next 30 days or so that gives us a chance to design and figure out exactly what we want to build.”
The owners said they have yet to meet with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to discuss financing and the team’s future.
“I don’t think it’s really the right time,” Edens said, adding that the owners are committed to identifying a location before any other steps.
During his day in Milwaukee, Silver also took time to have lunch with a select group of local team investors, including Jon Hammes of Hammes Partners; Jim Kacmarcik of Kapco, Inc.; Craig Karmazin of Good Karma Brands; Giacomo Fallucca of Palermos; Teddy Werner of the Milwaukee Brewers; Valeria Daniels-Carter of V&J Holding Companies; Michael Barber of GE Healthcare; and Virgis Colbert of Miller Brewing Company. Also present at the lunch were Jarad Franzreb of the NBA as well as Bucks owners Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan. New York real estate developer Michael Fascitelli, also recently named to the Bucks ownership group, was also at the luncheon, along with team executives Peter Feigin and Alex Lasry.
Silver will cap his day in Milwaukee by appearing at the Bucks’ Tuesday night game against the Detroit Pistons.

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Douglas Dynamics acquires Iowa manufacturer
November 25, 2014 12:13 PM
Milwaukee-based Douglas Dynamics Inc. announced it has agreed to acquire Manchester, Iowa-based Henderson for about $95 million.

Henderson manufactures custom snow and ice control equipment solutions for heavy duty trucks. It serves state departments of transportation, counties and municipalities. Products include snow plows, ice control equipment, dump bodies, muni-bodies and replacement parts. It generated $76 million in net sales in the year ending Sept. 30.

Henderson has a 170,000-square-foot manufacturing facility where most of its more than 350 employees are based. It also has five truck equipment up-fit facilities in New York, Iowa, Ohio, New Jersey and Illinois that handle assembly and delivery of the trucks.

Douglas makes vehicle snow and ice attachments and equipment under the Blizzard, Fisher, Snowex and Western brands, turf care equipment under the Turfex brand, and industrial maintenance equipment under the Sweepex brand.

Douglas plans to close the acquisition by the end of the year. It will be financed through a combination of cash and the amendment of its existing term loan agreement.

"The acquisition aligns perfectly with our core business and adds a layer of predictability and stability to our business, which is highlighted by Henderson's excellent track record of 11 consecutive years of revenue growth," said James Janik, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Douglas Dynamics. "Henderson is the industry leader in the heavy-duty truck segment of the snow and ice control market and has a different customer base and sales cycle as compared to our core business. Henderson works with the municipal budgeting and planning cycle which provides a much higher degree of revenue visibility with purchase decisions that are generally pre-planned and less driven by near-term weather conditions.

"The addition of Henderson cements Douglas Dynamics as the North American leader in snow and ice control across all truck segments. It expands our product portfolio, broadens our geographic footprint, and adds a dynamic and productive workforce and management team. We will also leverage our Douglas Dynamics Management System, including our lean manufacturing expertise, to work with Marty Ward, president and CEO of Henderson, and his leadership team to improve business efficiency and drive margin growth in the business."

"Douglas Dynamics' track record of success, customer centric focus, and culture of integrity make them the perfect partner for our business," Ward said. "Both businesses have strategic expertise in snow and ice control which can be leveraged to enhance the service and capabilities we provide to our customers and support our continued growth. We look forward to joining the Douglas Dynamics team and sharing expertise in 2015 and beyond."

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Alaska Airlines adds Milwaukee to Seattle flight
November 25, 2014 11:37 AM
Alaska Airlines has announced it will add a nonstop route from Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport to Seattle beginning July 1, 2015. This is the airline’s first Milwaukee route.

Through a partnership with SkyWest Airlines, Alaska will add the route plus Seattle-Oklahoma City and Portland, Ore.-St. Louis routes on seven new Embraer E175 jets. The first three aircraft will be operational this summer, and the other four will go into service in the first quarter of 2016.

The Milwaukee-Seattle route will be offered once from each city per day, and introductory one-way fares will start at $119 for tickets purchased by Dec. 1 and travel completed between July 8 and Sept. 30, 2015.

Southwest Airlines also offers a Milwaukee-Seattle nonstop flight.

"The E175 is new for the Alaska brand and fills a specific need to serve 'long, thin routes' – destinations that are too distant for our regional aircraft, but currently don't have enough customer demand to fill a mainline jet," said Andrew Harrison, senior vice president of planning and revenue management for Alaska Airlines. "The smaller, but spacious, E175 jet will not only open up new cities, but provide feed traffic to our Northwest hubs, while giving customers a comfortable experience on these longer flights."

Today’s announcement continues a series of new routes for Mitchell International announced earlier this year. In September, Frontier Airlines announced new flights to Ft. Myers and Orlando, and this winter, Southwest, Delta, Frontier and AeroMexico will operate flights from Milwaukee to six destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. Many of those flights are available through Funjet Vacations, a national travel firm headquartered in Milwaukee County. Earlier this month, Southwest Airlines announced a new nonstop flight from Milwaukee to San Diego beginning in 2015.

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Jewish Community Center announces leadership and brand changes
November 25, 2014 11:40 AM
After about a decade of living with the same branding, the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center has announced plans to adopt the brand of the Jewish Community Centers of North America.

The nonprofit organization and social service agency, which is committed to enriching the quality of Jewish life, according to its website, has also restructured its governance and leadership team. Mark Shapiro, previously JCC executive director, has been appointed president and chief executive officer of the organization. Peter Blair, formerly associate executive director, will now serve as chief operating officer. Harriet Rothman, who has been director of development for the past seven years, has been appointed chief development officer.
 
Tommy Jostad will remain chief financial officer, and Chad Tessmer, who has served the organization as director of marketing and communications, will function as chief marketing officer.
 
The JCC’s new brand, which features a white “J” against a blue background, will be implemented immediately and will be reflected in the organization’s publications and materials as well as on its website in the near future.
 
“This brand represents the JCC that we are today and the JCC of tomorrow,” Shapiro said in an announcement. “It embraces the inclusive nature of our Jewish values and traditions, it celebrates our professionalism, and it affirms the JCC’s place as a destination for excellence and aspirational living.”
 
“This is a brand evolution that was, frankly, a long time in coming,” said Tessmer, who was part of the national professional advisory group that conceived the brand. “We are blessed to serve this community as experts in wellness, education, camping and social services. To have a professional brand that matches our expertise is critical. Much like the community itself – the J is flexible, compassionate, and sets big goals.”
 
JCC is an affiliate of the JCC Association of North America, which helps more than 350 affiliates in the U.S. and Canada facilitate educational, cultural, social Jewish identity-building and recreational programming.

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Business coalition donates more than 4,000 pounds of food
November 25, 2014 12:16 PM
A band of area businesses delivered more than 4,000 pounds of food and other necessities to the New Berlin Food Pantry last week, the result of a collective food drive that ran from Oct. 15 to Nov. 15.

According to Jeanne Holden, director of the food pantry, the donation was the single largest the organization has ever received.

New Berlin-based Grounds Maintenance Services was among the participating businesses. The company delivered a dump truck full of donations to the pantry on Wednesday, and volunteers from many of the businesses involved in the drive helped unload donations and prepare them for sorting.

Along with canned and boxed food, the drive collected diapers, toilet paper, cleaning products and personal hygiene items. Those items will benefit individuals and families in need in Brookfield, New Berlin and Elm Grove, where the food pantry focuses its mission.

“We don’t really think about people going hungry in Brookfield, New Berlin and Elm Grove, which is probably because it’s never really talked about,” said Todd Ruedt, owner of Grounds Maintenance Services. “Everyone who joined in or donated to this effort can be proud that, together, we are helping the neediest in our communities, who are also our neighbors.”

The donations arrived at the start of one of the pantry’s most demanding seasons.

Other businesses that contributed to the food drive were: ActionCOACH of Elm Grove, Brookfield Dance Academy, Charlie’s East Coast Hair Designs, G2 Insurance Services, IMS Barter Trade Exchange, Movin’ & Lubin’, Shop to Carrie On, Soerens Ford, Source 1 Project Solutions, and The Oilerie Brookfield.

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BizTracker: Economy grew in 3rd quarter
November 25, 2014 11:36 AM
The Bureau of Economic Analysis revised its third quarter real Gross Domestic Product figure higher, with the U.S. economy growing an annualized rate of 3.9 percent.

It was originally estimated to have grown by 3.5 percent, and the latest figure exceeded consensus expectations, with economists anticipating a revision down to 3.3 percent. The revision reflected upward revisions for consumer and business spending and on inventory investment.

For more, read the BizTimes BizTracker.

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Milwaukee Biz Blog: Connect your dollars to your values
November 25, 2014 12:19 PM
A general focuses on the battlefield and where the enemy is coming from, while the soldier in the foxhole keeps his sight within a 10-yard perimeter. In a similar vein, business leaders must understand the lay of a more expansive external environment while others define and execute day-to-day tactics.

Read more in today’s Milwaukee Biz Blog by economist Kay Plantes.

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